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You Don’t Want to Hurt Their Feelings

It's true, NVC (Nonviolent Communication) is all about connection.  So how can you be in a NVC consciousness and choose to disconnect from someone?

Connect with yourself.

Ever had the experience in which someone wanted to be friends with you and you weren't interested?  They kept asking about getting together and you kept making excuses about why you couldn't do it.

Feels yucky to answer dishonestly and yet not know how to answer in a way that won't hurt their feelings.  So, what to do?

One, there is to get clear about "hurting other's feelings."  You don't have the power to "hurt someone's feelings".  People feel hurt, pain, sadness, etc. relative to their own thoughts and needs.

On the other hand, you can, if you choose to, care for others in your words and actions. One important step is taking responsibility for yourself by identifying the cause of your thoughts and behaviors as your own needs.

When you don't like someone you are likely judging them.  On the surface you tell yourself that this person is too this or too that.  You think your "no" to connection with them is about them. Your "no" isn't about them, it's about you.

You have particular values/needs, preferences, and priorities.  You make a guess that at this time in your life hanging out with this person won't meet your needs. Honoring yourself and the other is about expressing what's true for you at a feelings and needs level.

First, name the needs you want to protect with your "no".  Then express them in a way you think the other person can connect to.

Let's say your story about this person is that they are not your peer, they won't contribute to you, on the contrary, you are afraid that with the suffering they are in they will drag you down or just bore you.  You might identify feelings of nervousness, discomfort, or dread.  The needs you want to protect might be ease around mutual understanding, support, and learning.

Take a moment now to reflect on your interactions with someone you avoid or don't want in your life.  Identify the feelings and needs that come up for when you think of interacting with this person.

***click here for a list of feelings and universal needs

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You Don’t Want to Hurt Their Feelings (Part 2)
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Who’s Abandoning Who?

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